By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State National Open provided the team with just what they needed- progress in performances.
The Nittany Lions are now about halfway through their indoor track season and are seeing some great improvements in their times and marks. Head coach John Gondak sees these improvements and is really excited for what the rest of the season has in store.
"As we talk about year in and year out, it's about just getting better as the season moves along. I think if you look at from where we were for the first meet, to last weekend, to this meet, people continue to get better and that's all you can ask for," Gondak said.
Some of these improvements involved athletes setting new personal bests in their events. Senior Greta Lindsley ran her best time in the 3000-meter.
"I think coming off from a PR in the mile two weekends ago, I had the confidence to do what I did today in the 3000-meter. I think I went out a little hard, little aggressive, but that's what you should do," Lindsley said. "I thought I had the confidence to PR today, I want to keep that momentum going and just want to see where that takes me and keep working hard and not giving up, especially since it's my last year."
Along with Lindsley, freshman Terrance Laird and junior Dan Chisena ran their personal bests in their events at the open this weekend. Chisena ran his first open 400-meter of the season and came out with his best time ever in the event.
"That was my 400-meter opener, so I was very happy that I could PR in an opener," Chisena said. "I'm just hoping to build off of that."
"I feel good. I was in lane 6, so I didn't get to see anybody. I know Malik, Xavier and the kid from Coppin State were coming for me, so I just ran scared and as fast as I could. I just hoped that I put myself in a good position coming down the home stretch," Laird added.
Although senior Hannah Mulhern pole vaulter didn't set a new PR at the meet, she knows that her mark will only continue to improve from here.
"I'm really happy with my performance today. I think that I'm progressing really well as the season goes on, just keep getting a little bit higher each meet which is really important," Mulhern said. "I haven't peaked yet I don't think, but I think that's coming. It'll come at the right time for me."
Mulhern and the other pole vaulters got the chance to compete with some great competition today. Olympic gold medalist, Jenn Suhr, was at the open.
"There were some really good unattached girls who came in to compete today, one of them being the Olympic Gold Medalist Jenn Suhr, who didn't end up actually competing, but we got to warm up with her," Mulhern said. "Seeing her take some jumps was really, really cool for us to see an athlete at that level in our sport do what she knows how to do best."
The season isn't nearly close to over, so the athletes and coaches know that they still have to continue to work hard in order to have great performances when it comes Big Ten time. Luckily, the athletes will get an opportunity to compete at the Spire Institute, where Big Tens are held, in two weeks.
"One of our meets is at the Spire institute, which it's also good to run there before the Big Ten meet just to get a feel for the 300-meter track and running on a flat track again. I'm just looking to hopefully figure things out there and then transition how I feel at that meet to the Big Ten meet," Chisena said.
"There's always room for improvement. I'm just going to work on those things for practice. We are at Spire next time we travel, and I've never ran on a 300-meter track before, so I hope that helps me going into Big Tens and being prepared for that," Laird said.
"We are starting to put up some performances now that are very competitive with the Big Ten, that are leading the Big Ten in a lot of different areas, so I think we are right on track for what we want to accomplish this year," Gondak said.